One of my favorite, super quick lunch ‘cheats’ is puff pastry… it’s just so versatile! Puff pastry magically carries savory or sweet flavors equally well, and can be turned into a little snack, or a full blown meal, depending on the occasion. Puff pastry is perfect for family cooking for so many reasons…
- Puff pastry recipes are generally easy, and kids can help in the kitchen, learning valuable life skills as they do.
- Puff pastry is a quick, easy option, perfect for busy families.
- Puff pastry is a great ‘vessel’, and can carry many different options, allowing you child to explore new tastes and textures in a way that is not too over-whelming or ‘scary’.
- Puff pastry provides your child with lots of energy.
- Puff pastry recipes are fun!
Today, i want to share with you two of my favorite Puff Pastry recipes – one savory, and one sweet. The sweet one is a little nod to Halloween which is just around the corner. I’ll also be sharing a few basic puff pastry designs. I hope you enjoy.
Tomato, Chicken, Bacon and Spinach Danish (makes 4)
Doesn’t that just look ‘yum’? Hmmm… Well, it’s really easy to do too!
1 sheet of store bough puff pastry
1 chicken breast, finely diced
2 rashers of bacon, finely diced (or about a 50 to 75g if you buy the pre-diced bacon)
2 handfuls of chopped spinach
Step 1 – Heat a tiny drop of oil in a pan, and saute the the bacon for a few minutes, then add the chicken and stir gently, cooking for about 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
Step 2 – Once the chicken is cooked through, add in the spinach, and cover for two minutes to allow the spinach to cook down. Don’t worry if it looks like a whole lot at this stage… it will shrink, i promise…
Step 3 – Stir your chicken mixture, and season to taste. It probably doesn’t need much salt because of the bacon, but a little bit of black pepper is very nice if your kids will handle it.
Step 4 – Unroll your puff pastry, and cut it into quarters. Then cut each quarter in half again. Spread a little tomato paste on four of your squares, and then top with a bit of your chicken bacon mixture, being careful not to go to close to the edge of the pastry.
Step 5 – Cover each square with another square of pastry, cut 3 little slits in the top. and push the sides down with a fork to stop the pie from coming apart. Brush with an egg-wash and pop in the oven until golden. (220 C for 25 minutes does it for me)
The second One i want to share with today, is my Pumpkin Nut Puff Pastry Plait – perfect for Halloween (and a winner at Thanksgiving!)
Ingredients (makes 4)
1 roll of store bought puff pastry
Some left over pumpkin (less than a cup is all you need)
8 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons of crushed nuts (i used hazelnuts, but pecans would also be delicious!)
Step 1 – Unroll your puff pastry, cut it into quarters and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar onto each quarter, making sure not to go to close the the edge of the pastry.
Step 2 – Add a spoon or two of pumpkin , in the shape of a sausage, running along the length of your pastry.
Step 3 – Sprinkle a tablespoon of the crushed nuts over the top of the pumpkin, then cut slits diagonally along the side of the pumpkin mixture. The cuts should be at 4 o’clock on the right-hand side and 8 o’clock on the left.
Step 4 – Fold the pastry in over itself and create a plait, then brush the plait with egg-wash and sprinkle with a little extra brown sugar. Bake at 220C for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and crispy flaky.
So, those are my two ‘go to’ puff-pastry recipes. I chose to go with a basic danish shape, and the plait, but there are a few other options as well. Let’s take a quick look at those…
1. There’s the scroll…Lay the puff pastry flat, spread your chosen filling onto the pastry, and start rolling from both end so that you meet in the middle. Slice into ‘medallions’ and lay them flat on a lightly greased baking tray, and bake at 220C for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
2. The pinwheel… Similar to the scroll, but perhaps EVEN EASIER. All you need to do is lay out your pastry, spread on your filling and roll it up. Slice out medallions, pop them onto a baking tray and bake at 220C or 15 to 20 minutes. Easy peasy!
3. Do the ‘twist’… Another super puff pastry idea to do with the kids. You need 2 rolls of pastry for this recipe. Unroll both pastry rolls, spread your filling on on then top with the other. Cut into strips, then twist, pop onto a baking sheet and bake at 220C for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Cigars…Sounds sophisticated, doesn’t it, but it’s a great trick to get kids to eat things they other wise not have tried, like asparagus, or even prawns. All you need to do is unroll your pastry, cut it into rectangles large enough to wrap your chosen item, spread each rectangle with a little spread of your choice then place your filling item on top. Wrap the pastry around and seal the edges, place on a tray and bake at 220C for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Parcels… Another great pastry idea to do with the kids! Unroll your store bought pastry, and cut into squares. Scoop a little pile of your chosen filling into the middle of the square, then bring the four corners into the center and push together to join. Bake at 220C for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.
Do you have a favorite puff pastry recipe? Why not share it in the comments?
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